From the booming paigu to the delicate strings of the ruan, the lutelike pipa and the yangqin, or hammered “butterfly harp,”...



Thirteen young musicians of diverse ethnic background ready themselves to play their traditional Chinese instruments on stage in this informative and gracefully illustrated twin debut.

Jiang, a composer, presents upbeat, free-verse poems in the children’s voices about their instruments or their mental states: “When I tune my erhu, / I only need to listen to / Two strings. So easy!” These are paired to sidebar historical and descriptive notes, associated legends and characterizations of the distinctive sounds each instrument makes. Chu’s illustrations are rendered in clearly drawn lines and soft, harmonious colors. They depict each musician in turn playing his or her instrument in rehearsals or solo performances with, often, imagined natural landscapes, animals or mythical beasts floating behind. The preparation culminates in a concert seen in an elevated view of orchestra and audience, followed by a final lineup to take a bow beneath a closing note on characteristics of classical Chinese music.

From the booming paigu to the delicate strings of the ruan, the lutelike pipa and the yangqin, or hammered “butterfly harp,” a lively medley that will expand the musical boundaries of most young audiences. (bibliography) (Informational picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-885008-50-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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“Little boy blue / come blow your tuba. / The sheep are in Venice, / and the cow’s in Aruba.” Pairing frenetic and garishly colored art to familiar rhymes in “more modern, more fresh, and well…more Goosian” versions, Seibold stakes out Stinky Cheese Man territory to introduce “Jack and Jill / and a pickle named Bill,” the Old Woman Who Lived in a Sneaker (“She had a great big stereo speaker”), Peter Pumpkin Pickle Pepper and about two dozen more “re-nurseried” figures. Against patterned or spray-painted backgrounds, an entire page of umbrella-carrying raindrops float down, a bunch of mice run up (“the clock struck one; / the rest had fun”), cats fiddle for Old King Coal and others, Jack B. Nimble makes a lifelong career out of demonstrating his one trick and a closing rendition of the counting rhyme “One, Two, I Lost My Shoe” is transformed into a clever reprise as many of the characters return to take final bows. Sparkles on the cover; chuckles (despite some lame rhyming) throughout. (Fractured nursery rhymes. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8118-6882-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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The combination of haiku, attractive illustrations, and interesting information makes this a keeper.


This picture book combines poetry with facts about nature.

Using the arrival of morning as its focus and theme, this nonfiction book provides information about animal, insect, and bird life along with some general natural science. From birds’ singing in the morning through moths’ finding quiet spots to rest as the sun rises to the daily routines of rabbits, foxes, and other animals, readers will discover fascinating facts about Earth’s creatures. Combining entertainment and information, this book not only features the lives of animals, but it also explains why the sky changes color throughout the day and how the Earth’s rotation creates the phenomena of day and night. Each double-page spread highlights a different creature or natural phenomenon; there’s a haiku on verso and on recto, a moderately sized paragraph with both commonly known and more unusual facts. Highlighted words stand out as obvious vocabulary builders; readers can learn their meanings in the appended glossary. The illustrations are large-scale and vivid, with the palette lightening over the course of the book as morning takes hold. Illustrations are graphically simple, with cheerful cartoon animals contributing to the upbeat mood. An added bonus is a page at the back encouraging readers to write their own nature haiku.

The combination of haiku, attractive illustrations, and interesting information makes this a keeper. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62317-385-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: North Atlantic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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